“Lee try mum again, tell her to meet us there so she can take you home.” The green light comes and Jayce takes off like a bat out of hell, it’s times like this I’m grateful for his mad ass driving.
Pulling into the hospital car park I practically jump over Al in an attempt to get out, making sure to avoid her bump but probably giving her a good damn view of my ass in this little black dress.
Fear is something I’ve always lived with but right now I feel truly scared, the paramedics said he was lucky but what the fuck does that even mean. “Guys, just go back. Check in on Granny for me, I’ll stay here with Josh and I’ll text you to say what’s happening.”
Al looks at Jayce and then back to me. “Babe we can stay, I don’t mind. Tara and Dad will check on Granny.”
I shake my head. “Babe you’re pregnant, the last thing you need is to be sleeping in a hospital chair. Just go to Granny’s for me, crash there if you want so you can help her get May sorted for school in the morning. Me and Josh are good, if anything changes I’ll let you know.”
She nods and Jayce gives me that ‘take care of yourself look’ he’s so fond of giving me lately, before they pull off and head in the direction of my place.
Walking in through the doors of the emergency room I see a quivering wreck in the seats that resembles someone I’m sure used to be Josh. I don’t even talk as I pull him straight to me and let his tears flow down onto my shoulder. “He woke up in the ambulance, the doctors are stitching him up now then they said I can go back in. They said the blade was small so it hasn’t done any major damage so he doesn’t need surgery. Fuck Brie, I haven’t been that scared since...”
I remember that day so clearly, Josh had been in the toilets that night when the shots started. He hid and heard every scream all alone and terrified, he wasn’t outside with the rest of us. I remember thinking while I was standing there in the rain with May in my arms that I knew he’d be okay because Harley was with him, that they must have been together, little did I know that was far from the reality.
We stay like that, me holding him as he shakes, the fear of tonight mixing with that previous torture until he’s finally pulled back to reality when a nurse steps in to the room and calls his name. “Hello Josh, your brother is stable and he’s asking for you.” Josh nods and we both stand ready to follow her in when she stops. “I’m sorry, it’s family and spouses only beyond this point.”
I go to sit back down when Josh grabs my hand. “She’s Steve’s girlfriend, he’ll want to see her too.” The nurse smiles and gestures for us to follow, me trying to mask my surprise at Josh’s quick thinking.
Stepping through into the room I’m taken aback by Steve. He looks much better than he did an hour ago but his face is still battered, the perfect ab’s I like so much wrapped up in a thick bandage.
Josh slips straight down into the chair next to him but I stand against the wall, just trying to keep it together as I see Steve wince with every gentle movement he makes. “Do you want me to call someone?... Dad?” Josh asks in a voice more shaky than his body currently is.
Steve looks insulted by the suggestion. “Absolutely fucking not. I’m fine mate, no permanent damage done. Okay? Want to get me a coke though? This hospital water tastes like piss.”
I chuckle, when I would come here to visit Heather with Al I always said the same thing, hospital water is super gross.
Josh asks if I want anything before he gets up to leave and I settle in the chair he was in, Steve keeping his eyes on me as I walked across the room and attempting a smile. “Don’t smile, with your face battered like that you look demented.”
My words just cause him to smile more, even though it’s clear it’s hurting him. We sit for a minute in silence, I don’t want to wear him out, I bet he’s exhausted from all the meds he must be on right now.
“I could hear you shouting.” His words pull my attention back to him.
“Well of course, I’m pretty loud, ask any of the guys I’ve been with.” I joke but he just keeps looking at me with the cutest little smirk.
“I meant during the fight, I kept hearing your voice. Its weird because usually when I’m in there I don’t hear shit because I’m so focused but it was like your voice cut through the silence in my mind time after time, at one point I wasn’t even sure it was real...”
He doesn’t face me anymore, turning to look up at the ceiling. “Oh I’m real beaut, trust me. No matter what those bitches in high school said, there isn’t a bit of me that’s fake... Well except if that nurse asks, then I’m your fake girlfriend for the night.”
A grin spreads across his face. “Girlfriend huh? Bit fast isn’t it? We’ve only seen each other a few times since you resurfaced stranger. God, you take a girl out for one coffee and she thinks you’re all hers...”
If he wasn’t so hurt already I’d hit him. “You should feel privileged mister. There’s not a man alive that’s had the honour of calling me their girlfriend before.”
His head whips back to face me. “Really? How is that even possible? I mean, have you seen you? Every guy in your high school must have been fucking idiot, I would’ve followed you around that place like a lost puppy.”
I can’t imagine a guy like Steve would ever follow a girl around no matter how hot she is, he strikes me as the hot silent type that would’ve sat in the back of class pretending no-one existed. The kind of guy that was brooding and mysterious, with just enough hint of danger to keep it interesting.
“Oh it wasn’t through lack of desire trust me, I had offers. I’m just yet to find anyone that actually makes me want to settle down. Especially back then, unfortunately men are thick as pig shit. Even more so when they do stupid things like get inside steel cages to fight fucking psychos!”
He smirks. “It’s my fault really. I should have known better than to get in the ring with a fucking Russo. He might hide it behind that fake name but I know what he is. Kind of serves me right but I just couldn't turn down the challenge.”
Okay am I the only dense one or do you have no idea what he's on about either? “Babe, what the hell is a Russo?”
Steve laughs but it soon turns into a spluttering cough so I grab him some water and feed it to him. “Thanks beautiful, coming from you it doesn’t taste so bad.” Stop being charming mister and tell me.
“Russo?” I ask again.
He nods. “The family.” I look at him completely blank and he starts to laugh again. “I forget sometimes you're a bad girl from the right side of the tracks.” He winks but with his mangled eye it looks more comical than sexy.
"The Russo’s are a big mafia family. The Dad has like twenty sons by different women and they're all in different professions. They're dirty as shit when it comes to how they play the game. Some of them are in business, sport, casinos, industry, I think they're even in government. He basically gets his sons into a pie he needs a finger in. The boy tonight is one of the younger ones, pretty sure the show with me was so he didn't look like a pansy going back to daddy after tapping out.”
Oh shit. “Steve are you in trouble here? Like are they going to come after you?”
He shakes his head. “Not their style, I'm not really worth it now they've put me in here. As long as no-one goes to the cops I’m good, it's just about keeping up appearances.”
There really is a whole underbelly to this place I know fuck all about. “Steve how do you know about this stuff?”
Smiling he looks back at me. “Who do you think owns Paradise?” Well he did say there were some dodgy people there. Fuck, I was in a mafia owned sex club? I really need to write a book about this stuff.
Steve settles back into the pillow behind him, I can see it's not comfortable for him to move by the way he's wincing. “Babe is there anything I can get you? Do you want me to swap out with Josh when he gets back and get you something to eat?”
He shakes his head but turns his hand to face me, I wrap it up in my own as I look at him, even with all this bruising he's still fucking gorgeous to look at. “I'm good. I'd rather wake back up to your beautiful face than Josh’s any day.”
I shuffle my seat closer to him, keeping his hand in one of mine and using my other to stroke the hair away from his eyes. I can see him begin to relax as I run my nails along his scalp, pulling at his roots just enough to cause him to bend to my will. He needs sleep, his whole body turns to face me as his eyes begin to close.
Seeing what I'm doing is working, I keep going until his breathing starts to level. Josh walks back in and I look at him with enough venom he knows I'll kill him if he wakes Steve up.
I sit there watching him, scared at any second the pain will become too much and he'll suddenly need me again if I move away.
Josh settles in the seat next to me. “My Dad won't come but he's paid the bill. I don't understand why he needs to be such a prick about things, he was the one that hurt Steve not the other way around.”
If I could understand why fathers don't want their kids maybe I'd have one. “Sorry babe, he has you. I don't think he'd want anyone else here anyway, you're his everything.”
Josh smiles at his brother then turns to me. “Don't be so sure about that, it wasn't my name he was muttering in the ambulance whilst semi-conscious.”
Oh god please don't tell me he was crying out for that cheating bitch. “Who's name was he saying?”
Josh glances down at my hand in Steve’s before looking back into my eyes. “Yours.”